Liquid epoxy resins have received much attention from both academia and the chemical industry as eco-friendly volatile organic compound (VOC)-free alternatives for applications in coatings and adhesives, especially in those used in households. Epoxy resins show high chemical resistance and high creep resistance. However, due to their brittleness and lack of thermal stability, additional fillers are needed for improving the mechanical and thermal properties. Halloysite nanotubes (HNTs) are naturally abundant, inexpensive, and eco-friendly clay minerals that are known to improve the mechanical and thermal properties of epoxy composites after suitable surface modification. Zirconium is well known for its high resistance to heat and wear. In this work, zirconium oxide-impregnated HNTs (Zr/HNTs) were added to epoxy resins to obtain epoxy composites with improved mechanical and thermal properties. Zr/HNTs were characterized by field-emission transmission electron microscopy, transmission electron microscopy with energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction, and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. Changes in the thermal properties of the epoxy composites were characterized by thermo mechanical analysis and differential scanning calorimetry. Furthermore, flexural properties of the composites were analyzed using a universal testing machine.
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